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Kimmo Soini, CEO VR FleetCare

BLOG Highlights of the year 2021

CEO Kimmo Soini writes in a blog about the most significant events of 2021.

Author: Kimmo Soini, CEO

We have come a long way as an almost 160-year-old Finnish rolling stock maintenance company. For a few years now, we have been operating as our own company and have reached a very interesting stage in our growth strategy. We have shown that we are able to compete with other world-class rolling stock maintenance companies and have new projects and equipment to manage. I would like to highlight to you the most important successes regarding our projects in the past year.

In April, we got an interesting opening to the Norwegian market and signed a contract with Norwegian company Vy Tog As to modernise eight sleeper cars. The modernisation project improved the passenger comfort and safety of the rolling stock and renew the appearance of the cars to match the customer's brand image. The cars were transported from Germany to Finland by rail and underwent major changes in Pieksämäki and Oulu before being handed over to the customer in Norway in autumn 2021.

In May, we launched a new digital service product, Train Scanner, based on machine vision and shape recognition. The scanner can be used to automate train health checks, which in turn will free up resources for other maintenance work. The first Train Scanner was taken into use in Helsinki for the condition inspection of the Flirt fleet. The scanner has attracted special interest in the rail industry.

In August, we signed a framework agreement with the bus operator Pohjolan Liikenne for the maintenance of 30 e-buses in Tampere. This contract is VR FleetCare's first maintenance agreement regarding e-buses. Our highly adjustable facilities will become handy, because the work will be carried out at VR FleetCare’s Tampere freight wagon shop.

In September, we established a new component workshop in Pieksämäki, as we needed more production space for our component services. The new component workshop will renovate the bogies of VR Group’s locomotives and the bogies of Elron's Flirt fleet. We are still looking for growth for our component services in nearby areas and other rail traffic.

In October, the Estonian railway company Elron announced that it would use the option for another year of the maintenance agreement for the bogies of the Flirt trains, which will continue the periodic maintenance of bogies and gearboxes of Elron’s diesel and electric trains in Finland.

In December, we signed a 20-year contract for the maintenance and lifecycle services of high-speed trains operating between Helsinki and St. Petersburg starting from 2022. We are prepared to maintain the Allegro trains until the end of their service life. In addition, we signed a 10-year contract with VR Group on the maintenance of the new Stadler diesel locomotive’s stock. The locomotives represent the latest diesel locomotive technology and are significantly more environmentally friendly than older diesel locomotives.

At the heart of VR FleetCare's strategy is to improve the customer experience together with the customer. Our aim is to improve the competitiveness of our customers by combining innovative technology and strong rail traffic expertise into one customer-oriented service. Our task is to help customers to develop the lifecycle costs and usability of rolling stock by offering them even more detailed information about the condition of the rolling stock or rail infrastructure. Data-controlled, predictive and condition-based maintenance and improving maintenance programmes are at the core of development.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if your fleet is in need of modern maintenance!